Half a million jobs in November
December 7, 2008
BLS reported on Friday that 530000 jobs were lost in November. Here’s their report:
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION: NOVEMBER 2008
Nonfarm payroll employment fell sharply (-533,000) in November, and
the unemployment rate rose from 6.5 to 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. November’s
drop in payroll employment followed declines of 403,000 in September and
320,000 in October, as revised. Job losses were large and widespread
across the major industry sectors in November.
Unemployment (Household Survey Data)
Both the number of unemployed persons (10.3 million) and the unemploy-
ment rate (6.7 percent) continued to increase in November. Since the start
of the recession in December 2007, as recently announced by the National
Bureau of Economic Research, the number of unemployed persons increased by
2.7 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points.
The unemployment rates for adult men (6.5 percent) and adult women (5.5
percent) continued to trend up in November. The unemployment rates for
teenagers (20.4 percent), whites (6.1 percent), blacks (11.2 percent), and
Hispanics (8.6 percent) showed little change over the month. The jobless
rate for Asians was 4.8 percent in November, not seasonally adjusted.
Among the unemployed, the number of persons who lost their job and did not
expect to be recalled to work increased by 298,000 to 4.7 million in November.
Over the past 12 months, the size of this group has increased by 2.0 million.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was
little changed at 2.2 million in November, but was up by 822,000 over the past
Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)
In November, the labor force participation rate declined by 0.3 percentage
point to 65.8 percent. Total employment continued to decline, and the employ-
ment-population ratio fell to 61.4 percent.
Over the month, the number of persons who worked part time for economic
reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) continued
to increase, reaching 7.3 million. The number of such workers rose by 2.8
million over the past 12 months. This category includes persons who would
like to work full time but were working part time because their hours had
been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.
Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)
About 1.9 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally
attached to the labor force in November, 584,000 more than 12 months
earlier. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted
as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks pre-
ceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 608,000 dis-
couraged workers in November, up by 259,000 from a year earlier. Discour-
aged workers are persons not currently looking for work specifically be-
cause they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.3 million
persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched
for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities.
Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)
Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 533,000 in November, bringing
losses to 1. 9 million since the start of the recession in December 2007.
Two-thirds of these losses occurred in the last 3 months. In November,
employment declined in nearly all major industries, although health care
continued to add jobs.
In November, employment continued to decline in manufacturing (-85,000),
with widespread job losses occurring among the component industries. Manufacturing employment has declined by 604,000 since December. Within durable goods manufacturing, job losses occurred in November in fabricated
metal products (-15,000), machinery (-11,000), wood products (-9,000),
furniture and related products (-7,000), primary metals (-7,000), and com-
puter and electronic products (-7,000). Employment in transportation
equipment edged up, as a return of 27,000 aerospace workers from strike
more than offset a job loss in motor vehicle and parts (-13,000). In the
nondurable goods component, job losses occurred in plastics and rubber
products (-12,000), printing and related support activities (-5,000), and
textile mills (-5,000).
Employment in construction fell by 82,000 in November, with losses oc-
curring throughout the industry. Since peaking in September 2006, con-
struction employment has decreased by 780,000. Specialty trade contrac-
tors lost 50,000 jobs in November, with both residential and nonresiden-
tial components contributing to the decline.
Within professional and business services, the employment services
industry lost 101,000 jobs over the month, bringing total job losses
since December to 495,000. In November, employment fell by 10,000 in
architectural and engineering services.
Employment in retail trade fell by 91,000 in November. Job losses
continued in automobile dealerships (-24,000). Employment in the indus-
try has fallen by 115,000 since December, with much of the decrease oc-
curring over the last 2 months. In several other retail industries, sea-
sonal hiring for the holidays fell short of normal in November. After
seasonal adjustment, employment declined in clothing and accessories
stores (-18,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-11,000);
and furniture and home furnishing stores (-10,000). Wholesale trade em-
ployment was down by 25,000 over the month, with most of the decrease
among durable goods wholesalers.
Employment in leisure and hospitality declined by 76,000 in November,
with most of the decline occurring in accommodation and food services
(-54,000). Since peaking in April 2008, accommodation and food services
has lost 150,000 jobs.
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In November, employment in financial activities continued to decline
(-32,000). Within the industry, job losses occurred in credit intermedi-
ation and related activities (-16,000) and in rental and leasing services
(-9,000). Job losses in financial activities have accelerated over the
last 3 months, bringing the total decline since December to 142,000.
Elsewhere in the service-providing sector, employment in transporta-
tion and warehousing declined by 32,000 in November, with most of the
losses in truck transportation (-12,000) and couriers and messengers
(-8,000). The information industry lost 19,000 jobs over the month.
Health care employment grew by 34,000 in November. Over the past 12
months, health care has added 369,000 jobs.
The change in total nonfarm employment for September was revised from
-284,000 to -403,000, and the change for October was revised from -240,000
to -320,000. In both months, there were large revisions in most of the
major industry sectors. These revisions resulted primarily because of the
normal monthly recalculation of seasonal factors rather than the incorpora-
tion of additional sample reports.
Weekly Hours (Establishment Survey Data)
In November, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory
workers on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours, sea-
sonally adjusted–the lowest in the history of the series, which began
in 1964. Both the manufacturing workweek and factory overtime fell by
0.2 hour over the month, to 40.3 and 3.3 hours, respectively.
The index of aggregate weekly hours of production and nonsupervisory
workers on nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.9 percent in November. The manu-
facturing index declined by 1.4 percent.
Hourly and Weekly Earnings (Establishment Survey Data)
In November, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory
workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents, or 0.4 percent. This
followed gains of 6 cents in October and 3 cents in September. Over the
past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.7 percent, and
average weekly earnings rose by 2.8 percent.